Bent Knee is a band without frontiers. The Boston-based group seamlessly connects the worlds of rock, pop and the avant-garde into its own self-defining statement. On its globally-acclaimed 2016 release Say So, the band focuses on the sound of surprise. It’s rock for the thinking person. The group’s lyrics are dark and infused with themes focusing on the emergence of personal demons, unwanted situations and the difficulty of conquering them. Its mercurial sound matches its subject matter. It’s a thrilling aural roller-coaster ride with arrangements designed to make listeners throw their arms up in wild abandon as they engage with them.
The album has received glowing reviews across major media, including The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, NPR, Consequence of Sound, and Prog. BBC Radio 6 and BBC Radio 3 have also playlisted and championed the band across Europe.
Founded in 2009, Bent Knee is a true collective with sky-high standards and a determination to push boundaries. Frontwoman and keyboardist Courtney Swain’s acrobatic, multi-octave vocals are nothing less than extraordinary. Guitarist Ben Levin morphs between the hauntingly melodic and extreme, dissonant sonics—sometimes within a single verse or passage. Bassist Jessica Kion and drummer Gavin Wallace-Ailsworth deliver deep and thunderous grooves, full of engaging, intriguing ornamentation. Violinist Chris Baum’s driving melodic overlays and atmospheres further take the band’s sound into wild territory. And all of it is brilliantly processed and produced by sound designer Vince Welch.
"The songs on this record feel a lot like diary entries to me. In this case, the phrase 'dear me' can be read as both an expression of regret and the beginning of a letter to oneself. I see it as both," notes OWEL vocalist Jay Sakong. "That’s the nice thing about lyrics in songs - you can pretty much reveal the most secretive parts of yourself and not feel as exposed as if you just said it out loud."
New Jersey-based indie outfit OWEL will release their intimate sophomore full-
length, dear me, on November 11, which was co-produced by Sakong and Gates’ vocalist Kevin Dye. dear me is the follow-up to Every Good Boy (EP, 2015) that was produced by Mike Watts (As Tall As Lions, The Dear Hunter), and the band's debut, self-titled full-length (2013).
Featuring delicate, dreamy vocals with lush five-part harmonies, elegant string arrangements and a tasteful touch of electronic elements throughout, the band has
created a truly stunning sound on dear me that is all their own and simultaneously feels classic and modern. On the album, dramatic crescendos and dynamic soundscapes weave behind ethereal vocals, gracefully leading listeners on a phenomenal sonic journey of reflection, curiosity and contemplation.
"A lot of the songs on the self-titled album dealt with guilt and maybe even a bit of self- loathing. And while some of those feelings may still linger on the new record, I think for the most part the newer songs reflect a slightly more optimistic state of mind," he reveals. "We were mostly just excited to go into the studio. I know some musicians
prefer performing live over recording and, although I do love to perform live, I think making music in the studio is my favorite thing to do in life."
OWEL formed in 2013 and is comprised of Jay Sakong (lead vocals, guitar, keys), Jane Park (vocals, violin, viola, keys), Nunzio Moudatsos (vocals, bass), Ryan Vargas (percussion) and Seamus O’Connor (vocals, guitar, keys).
To date, OWEL has shared stages with the likes of Minus The Bear, Foxing, American Authors and performed at festivals such as Gentlemen of the Road, CMJ, SXSW, and
Northside Festival. The band has also seen syncs across numerous networks including NBC, FOX, E!, Showtime, TLC, Oxygen, The CW and more. OWEL has also been noted as a band to watch by Pitchfork, NPR, Grantland, Noisey, A.V. Club and more.